100 Years Ago Today

Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo.

Franzferdinand family

I remember learning in school that his marriage was morganatic, an unequal marriage. His wife, Sophie, was an aristocrat, but she was not a member of the ruling (or former ruling) families of Europe. As such, she was not allowed to be Empress, his children were barred from succession, and she was not allowed to be buried in the Imperial Crypt. I remember hearing that, at their funeral Mass, Sophie’s coffin was positioned lower than her husband, because, despite her marriage, she was not royal, and she was not his equal.

(The royals are different than you and I. It reminds me of a line from Gone With the Wind. “Those people (The Wilkes Family) are very queer. It’s best that they just keep marrying their cousins and keep their queerness to themselves.”)

They left three children orphans. It’s worth remembering that today. In a way, they are the Great War’s first bereaved.

Franz Ferdinand Sophie tomb

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